The Art Gallery of Golden will put on a new exhibition for the summer featuring cultural items crafted and contributed by the Métis Nation of the Columbia River.
Titled Otipemisiwak – the People Who Own Themselves, the exhibit hopes to shed light and promote Indigenous people and cultures in the area.
Items on display include a buffalo hide, which was tanned in 2020 by members of the Métis Nation of the Columbia River.
Historically, the Métis were totally dependent on the buffalo for food, clothing, tools, shelter, and as a means of making their living by providing pemmican to traders, voyageurs and trading posts.
The Métis in Golden have recently been holding workshops in fleshing, scraping, smoking and tanning buffalo hides as a demonstration of this significant piece of their culture.
The exhibit will also be presented alongside portraits by local photographer Claire Dibble showcasing members of the Métis community in Golden.
As a part of this project, a series of photography workshops were offered for members of the Métis Nation, as a part of understanding the importance of uplifting Indigenous voices.
“It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge the traditional stewards of the lands where these images were made and are currently exhibited,” reads the Art Gallery of Golden’s website.
“This exhibition is being held on the unceded traditional lands of the Ktunaxa and the Secwepemc peoples, which is also home to Métis Nation Columbia River Society and its members.”
Golden and the surrounding area has served as a home for Métis people of various backgrounds for generations. In some families, the heritage was intentionally hidden in the name of self-preservation and protection.
In recent years, with the aid of increased access to ancestry records and also due to shifts in societal perspectives around indigeneity, more people are becoming aware of and embracing their own Métis heritage.
For the full experience, the art gallery is recommending bringing headphones or earbuds and a mobile phone or tablet. Guest can scan the QR codes under select portraits to connect to audio files hosted online. Guest wifi access will be provided.
Due to COVID restrictions, no reception will be held.
Otipemisiwak – The People Who Own Themselves was funded through the financial support of Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Initiatives Program.
The exhibit is now on until Sept. 4.